When I went to see this, there were six trailers that played beforehand, but I left the theater having seen another five or so during the actual movie itself. What this bloated, 150 minute slugfest seems to want to communicate is that other DC characters exist and that many movies can be constructed for them from the colossal burning carcass of a project that was Man of Steel. Get excited, because we have a big Marvel universe competitor on the market, led by the venerable Zack Snyder and his subtle hand. This is a man unscathed by his own dumpster fire of 2013, the rusty keys to the DC Universe in his hands as desperate studios throw money at his feet. This is a man unafraid to take the perfection that is Amy Adams and proceed to shit stupidity all over her storyline. This is a man who will doggedly pursue the best end product possible, even if it means sacrificing a coherent story and interesting characters and a competent editing job…you know, fluff like that.
However, I do not hate this movie like I hate Man of Steel or, most recently, Deadpool. It’s just a bad movie rather than being unbearable, and we definitely do get some interesting sequences in the first half after the opening “ICYMI about Batman’s parents”. I think looking at the two superheroes’ perspectives and their symbolic relevance–especially in the post-9/11 type environment the movie intentionally explores–is a fine jumping off point, but those big themes fall by the wayside when the script ends up including almost every possible subplot known to man. It’s also hard to take said Serious Movie seriously when it takes a page out of the Inarritu handbook and throws some unnecessary dream sequences into the mix. I’m completely fine with superhero movies taking on a dark tone, but that does not shield one from the pitfalls of trying too hard.
Overall, “unnecessary” would be a good word to describe a lot of the movie, most notably in reference to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. She’s fun at times, but the inclusion of her character takes away from the already boring–but could potentially be less boring and more interesting with more time and better writers–Superman vs. Batman clash. Cavill and Affleck are solid, though, which is a plus, and Jesse Eisenberg periodically helps viewers remember what movie they’re watching by saying revelatory things like “Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent!” This highly caffeinated, power hungry douchebag spends the entire movie ruminating about God and then says those things he thinks about because apparently it’s deep? Eisenberg tries so hard to give a show-stealing performance that he forgets about giving a good one, and the way his story intersects with the main conflict simply results in a jumbled mess. This isn’t a terrible movie, but it alternates between being mildly entertaining and vapid, and I dislike that I made myself watch it. However, I will always be grateful for the wonderful lesson imparted to all of us: if you’re ever in a conflict, pray to Martha and She shall shine her light upon thee.
Photo credit: Warner Bros, DC Comics, Batman vs. Superman